Newsletter 8

22 December, 2011

In this issue

  1. University of Melbourne adopts WCAG 2.0 AA
  2. U.S. moves closer to endorsing WCAG 2.0
  3. PDF Accessibility
  4. ChromeVox
  5. Stat of the week

University of Melbourne adopts WCAG 2.0 AA

At its meeting of 29 September 2011, the Administrative and Business Advisory Group resolved to adopt WCAG 2.0 AA as the University's standard in relation to web content.

ABAG also resolved that UoM align itself with the Federal Government's National Transition Strategy (NTS) by aiming to implement the WCAG 2.0 Level A by the end of 2012 and Level AA by the end of 2014.

Training in WCAG 2.0 for publishers, programmers and project managers will be offered early next year.

U.S. moves closer to endorsing WCAG 2.0

There has always been a bit of a divide in web accessibility standards. Whilst the majority of the world follow WCAG 2.0, the U.S. follows there own standards, commonly known as Section 508.

Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act requires that all Federal departments and agencies, when developing, procuring, maintaining or using, electronic and information technology to allow equal access and use of the information by individuals with disabilities.

Section 508 is very similar to WCAG 1.0, but not identical.

The U.S. government commenced a review of Section 508 some time ago. In a somewhat surprising, but pleasing development, the latest draft of the rule endorses WCAG 2.0 as the U.S. standard in relation to web content.

More information on the Section 508 review is available here

PDF Accessibility

Damian Sweeney recently did an interesting presentation on PDF Accessibility at Tech Talk.

Further information about making PDF documents accessible is available here


ChromeVox was developed as a screen reader for the Google Chrome operating systems. It is also available as a plug-in for Google Chrome.

By installing the ChromeVox plug-in, users can have contents of web sites read out to them as they navigate the web using keyboard shortcuts.

One of the nice features of ChromeVox is the ability to zoom in and out of content. By using the modifier keys (CTRL + ALT on Windows, Mac and Linux) and (SHIFT + Search on Chrome OS) in conjunction with the + and - keys, users can select hear content at either the paragraph, sentence, word or letter level.

More information about the ChromeVox plug-in is available here

A bland looking, but excellent, user guide is available here

Stat of the week

  • 47% of people aged between 61 to 80 have significant hearing loss.
  • 20% of people over 70 have a mild cognitive impairment.
  • By 2020, 16% of Australians will be aged over 65.
  • By 2020, 29% of Japanese will be aged over 65.

Previous Issues

Previous issues of the Web Accessibility Newsletter are available here.

Contact Andrew Normand, Web Accessibility Program Leader
Phone: +61 3 9035 4867